Earning an associate teaching degree can help prepare you to take one of two teaching career paths. Those with associate teaching degrees are qualified to work as childcare providers, Head Start teachers, teacher’s aides and pre-school teachers. Most teaching jobs in the public school system, however, mandate teachers to be certified by the state. State certification requires, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree. Students who wish to become teachers can also use their associate degree as a starting point to obtaining a bachelor’s degree.
Associate-level concentrations revolve around caring for and teaching younger children, from birth through elementary school, and often focus on early childhood education, early childhood development, paraprofessional education and elementary education. It’s also important to note that curricula vary by concentration, but most associate teaching degree programs include coursework in early childhood curriculum, infant and toddler care, how children play, child development and child psychology. A good two-year teaching program will include an internship or field experience that allows the students to observe and build hands-on experience through an in-classroom practicum.
Just like their students, teachers benefit from continuing their education. Ongoing professional development allows teachers to not only build their own subject-matter mastery, but to remain up-to date on the latest pedagogical trends, the latest research on learning, the newest technology tools to improve the learning experience, and the hottest curriculum resources.
Besides the desire to transition from a good to great educator, teachers typically enroll in Continuing Education Courses (CEC), also called Continuing Education Units (CEU) for the following four reasons:
Continuing education courses are available in myriad formats, providing flexibility to the working educator. Common formats include workshops, online learning, correspondence, and in-person, class-based instruction. The various forms of continuing educator afford teachers to develop professionally in comfortable settings—whether through collaborative efforts with other educators or in a self-paced online course.
For more information, please refer to our Continuing Education Guidebook.
Today’s children are growing up in an increasingly interconnected world, one grounded firmly in technology. In turn, the once traditional learning experience in blackboard covered walls and chalk dust-filled air has morphed to one that contains data projectors, computers, and interactive white boards. Research conducted during the past two decades has revealed and confirmed that technology can have a positive impact on student learning, enhancing and supporting the individual student’s ability to develop knowledge.
In turn, the teachers of tomorrow need to possess both an understanding of technology, but how to use that technology in the classroom to modify and enrich their curriculum. Examples of that technology include computers, digital microphones, interactive whiteboards, mobile devices and tablets. In addition to computer hardware, teachers should also have knowledge of and a comfort level with software, online media, and other learning tools. Teachers may not only use these types of materials to augment their curriculum, but use them for grading, taking attendance, lesson plan creation, communication with parents and more.
A non-profit organization that has developed a growing hub of free online educational materials in nearly every subject such as arts and humanities, economics, mathematics and science.
Software and apps that allow teachers to engage with and assess their students through instructional activities on mobile devices, including laptops, smartphones, and tablets. Teachers can receive real-time data aggregation and data visualization to measure student performance.
An online, cloud-based presentation platform, that helps students and students create collaborative and personalized presentations for projects or educational materials, respectively.
An educational technology company that has launched a multi-platform educational products for both educators and students, such as Blackboard Collaborate and Blackboard Learn—products that can be used for instruction delivery, attendance taking, parent communication, online learning, and more.
Indeed, technology has transformed how students receive and process information, and teachers should be equipped with the right skills, knowledge, and abilities to leverage that technology in the classroom.
For more information, please refer to our Education Technology Guidebook.
Like students in all other disciplines, prospective teachers should start their enrollment process by completing the Free Application for Federal Financial Aid (FAFSA). The Department of Education and nearly all community colleges and universities use the FAFSA to determine a student’s eligibility for financial aid, which is available through a variety of sources:
In addition to any needs-based financial support, such as a Pell Grant, students in teaching degree programs may also apply for scholarships to pay for their college costs. Scholarships are designed for different purposes, whether to support academic excellence in a field of study, assist women or minorities to complete their education, or merit-based on a candidate’s academic and extracurricular profile.
Teaching scholarships are available from different sources, including private donors, state foundations, nonprofits, businesses, national organizations, and more. One of the largest providers of scholarships is the Federal Government through the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grant (TEACH). Under a TEACH grant, students receive $4,000 per year to complete the education required to become a teacher. In return, teachers must agree to teach for four years in a high-need subject at a school that provides services to students from low-income families.
In addition to grant programs like TEACH, the Federal Government also supports a loan forgiveness program for teachers as well. Loan forgiveness is designed to attract students to the field of teaching and covers two areas: loan cancellation for Federal Perkins loans and loan forgiveness for Subsidized and Unsubsidized Direct and Federal Stafford loans. .
Under the loan forgiveness program, teachers are eligible for forgiveness for a total up to $17,500 on their loans if they meet certain requirements, such as teaching for five consecutive academic years in approved schools that serve low-income populations.
The requirements to become a teacher vary from state to state. Interested in becoming a teacher? Select your state to learn more.
There are many different types of teachers, to fit a range of interests and personality types – from technology to art, language, and more. Learn more about specific types of teaching careers below.
Teachers come in all shapes, sizes and personalities. For example, an early childhood educator might have an extra dose of patience in her pocket, while a mathematics professor might possess an extraordinary amount of logic and organization. However, many educators share core skills, traits and interests that pulled them into the profession. See if a career in teaching is right for you.
Many teachers have special skills, knowledge, and talents that help them teach, lead, and inspire. Do you have what it takes to be a teacher? Answer the following 10 questions to find out.
You scored 100% – PUBLIC HEALTH IS A GREAT FIT
It looks like a career in teaching may not be a great fit. However, you may possess the various attributes necessary to succeed in other education-related careers, including librarian, curriculum developer or administrative assistant.
It looks like you possess some of the skills, traits and interests shared by today’s most successful teachers. However, you may need to develop certain areas during your education or training to maximize your effectiveness in the classroom and with students. Every teacher needs to improve continuously, so you may have exactly what it takes to be a successful educator.
It looks like you have many of the attributes found in today’s top teachers. A formal degree program, combined with student teaching, can help you hone those skills and apply them to the classroom environment, subject matter, and grade level in which you choose to focus.
It looks like a career in public health may not be a great fit. However, you may possess the attributes necessary to succeed in other health-related careers.
It looks like you possess some of the skills, traits and interests shared by today’s most successful public health professionals. However, you may need to develop certain areas during your education or training to maximize your effectiveness in the workplace.
It looks like you have many of the attributes found in today’s top public health professionals. A formal degree program can help you hone those skills and launch a lucrative career.
High school and college students who know they want to be teachers tend to follow a fairly traditional path into the profession. Others, however, may get the calling a bit later in life, and take other approaches to becoming teachers. Traditional and non-traditional paths will vary by specialty, state and institution. Yet nearly every aspiring teacher will encounter certain “decision points” and milestones along the way. The timelines below take a look at the two approaches to becoming a teacher, highlighting when certain key decisions need to be made. They will help you understand your choices and get you started in the right direction from the get-go.
Choose an accredited teaching program in the state in which you want to work or a school whose program is accepted in the state in which you want to work. This will facilitate earning your teaching credential upon graduation.
If you are applying directly to a teaching program, the school may require you to complete the Praxis I test, which measures that measure basic skills in reading, math, and writing.
Depending on the school, you will most likely spend freshman and sophomore years fulfilling liberal arts core requirements and taking introductory teaching classes. This is the time to explore the different teaching careers so you can start honing down on which ones interest you the most.
By the end of sophomore year, you should have determined what grade level you want to teach and whether you want to specialize in a specific subject. Most colleges will require you to declare a major or concentration by the end of your fourth semester. Students who have not completed the Praxis I test may also need to do so at this point. This is a good time to confirm that your program requirements are in line with teaching certification requirements in the state in which you want to teach.
During your junior year most of your classes will be related to your teaching major. Some will explore general teaching subjects in more depth than the introductory classes, and others will focus on your intended area of specialization. Your teaching program will offer some type of in-classroom student teacher experience during your junior or senior years. This is an important requirement for certification. Note that most school systems will require student teachers to undergo a background check and be fingerprinted.
Specialized teaching courses continue throughout your senior year. If you haven’t done so already, you will need to fulfill the student teacher requirement. This generally entails observing and/or working in a real classroom for a period of eight to ten weeks, and is a requirement for certification in most states.
Teachers who wish to work in the public school system must be licensed. Candidates for initial teacher licensure or certification are usually required to have a bachelor’s degree, completed student teaching requirements, passed certain qualifying exams like the Praxis II, and undergone a criminal background check and fingerprinting. Know what your state requirements for teacher licensure are, and get your certification as soon as you graduate.
You may want to consider a master’s degree in your teaching specialty, either to gain additional knowledge or for career advancement. Some states require teachers to earn a master’s degree in order to maintain certification. Master’s degree candidates can choose to attend college full-time or complete their degree on a part-time basis while still earning an income as a teacher. As with any undergraduate program, choose an accredited master’s teaching program that’s accepted in the state in which you want to work.
Obtain a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution. The specific major does not matter.
If you’ve served in the military, you have much to offer students in the classroom. Decide whether you’re interested in becoming a teacher, and if so, what type. If you have a bachelor’s degree or are studying for a bachelor’s degree through the Post 9/11 GI Bill, the Troops to Teachers Program (TTT) can help facilitate your way into the classroom.
Many people have fulfilling careers and decide midway through life they’d like to give back by becoming teachers. They want to share their knowledge and experience and become role models for the next generation. Individuals with specific subject expertise in math, science, foreign languages, and technology are in high demand. Work is usually at the high school level.
TTT does not train or certify teachers, but rather helps veterans find and enter the programs that do. Veterans usually need to complete a teacher preparation program. TTT also provides financial assistance for fulfilling any additional education requirements, in exchange for a three-year commitment to teach in a high needs area or school.
While individuals who’ve had professional careers are experts in a particular subject, they still need to learn how to teach. Alternative certification programs are specifically designed for career changers who didn’t major in education when they went to college. Most colleges and even some state departments of education offer alternative certification programs.
State certification requirements are generally different for veterans and career changers than they are for newly graduated teachers. In addition to having a bachelor’s degree and completing a teacher education program, candidates might need to pass certain tests to demonstrate subject knowledge. A criminal background check and fingerprinting are also required.
Some states allow veterans and career changers to begin teaching while they’re still in the process of becoming certified. While there is never a guarantee of getting a job, individuals with life experience and subject matter expertise will always be in demand as teachers.